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 CNS Story:

POPE-AUDIENCE Aug-8-2007 (330 words) With photos. xxxi

Knowing God created them makes humans great, pope says

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Knowing they have been created by God and striving to live united with him make humans great, said Pope Benedict XVI.

Returning briefly to the Vatican Aug. 8 for his weekly general audience, the pope dedicated his talk to the life and writings of St. Gregory Nazianzen, the fourth-century doctor of the church.

Pope Benedict told the estimated 7,500 people gathered in the Vatican audience hall that, while people should learn from St. Gregory's theological work, "let us also be moved by the love conveyed in his poetry."

The pope described St. Gregory as a "refined and sensitive" man who suffered greatly because of the doctrinal disputes that divided the Christian community of his day.

For St. Gregory, the pope said, "theology was not a purely human reflection and even less only the fruit of complicated speculation, but derived from a life of prayer and holiness, from an assiduous dialogue with God."

"In contemplative silence, bathed with awe before the marvels of the revealed mystery, the soul grasps the beauty and glory of the divine," the pope said.

Pope Benedict said St. Gregory wrote constantly of the primacy of God, a truth that helps human beings recognize their place and purpose in the world.

"Without God, man loses his greatness," he said. "Without God there is no true humanism. So, let us listen to his voice and try to know the face of God."

When a group of Portuguese-speaking pilgrims began singing an "Ave Maria," the pope started humming and then joined them in song, winning applause from the crowd.

After the audience, the pope returned by helicopter to his summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome.

- - -

Editor's Note: The text of the pope's remarks in English can be found online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20070808_en.html.

The text of his remarks in Spanish can be found online at: http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/audiences/2007/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20070808_sp.html.

END


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